Where You Can Learn American Sign Language

There are a lot of resources where you can learn American Sign Language or also known as ASL. This is due to the fact that a lot of people globally h...


There are a lot of resources where you can learn American Sign Language or also known as ASL. This is due to the fact that a lot of people globally has accepted the American Sigh Language as a natural and true language. Any individual who is able to speak ASL in addition to other true languages such as English, Spanish, and Mandarin is considered to be multilingual. ASL courses not that hard to find, in fact they are taught at many schools and universities. You can also learn American Sign Language through other resources such as self study books, DVDs, and online courses.

For those people who are not able to attend ASL courses, there are many tools available to help them learn ASL on their own. There is an abundance of books and DVDs that are a great resource for learning ASL for anyone interested in learning sign language. Books that help you learn American Sign Language contains step by step photographs or illustrations detailing how to do and complete each sign. There are also reference dictionaries that show a multitude of hand signs, books for beginners to learn American Sign Language, and advanced books for teachers and interpreters who are familiar with ASL but want to stay updated with the current ASL teaching methods.

There is an entire market of DVDs designed to help both adults and children learn American Sign Language. These DVDs are interactive and fun. More of these sign language DVDs are catered for the kids since children learn more through visual cues.

Technology has enabled many people to learn American Sign Language more conveniently through the internet. Online websites provide free video dictionaries with models demonstrating each sign. There are also sites that offer downloadable guides and worksheets. Some websites go as far as to offer complete printable workbooks, lessons plans, and practice cards. There are even online communities whose goal is to help people learn American Sign Language. These sites feature forums where they can post their comments and ask for support concerning ASL lesson and assignments.

Each of the resources mentioned are easily acquirable and fits your needs most of the time. It is just a matter of finding the one that you think will let you learn faster and more comfortably.

What is Braille Sign Language?


Braille Sign Language is a fairly new discipline being taught to children and adults alike who have impaired hearing as well as having visual difficulties. It is a far more complicated form since it adds more complex Braille signs that are designed to teach visually impaired and deaf people on how to express themselves or communicate to other people. Braille sign language can also be taught to blind people who are not necessarily deaf. In order to have a deeper grasp of Braille sign language, let us first of all talk about the different disciplines involved within it.

Sign language is a series of sign patterns that is visually transmitted to send across a message or convey meaning. Mostly this is used by deaf individuals but as years have passed it has grown popularity and has been widely accepted that even people who are not necessarily hearing impaired study how to do sign languages so as to communicate with deaf individuals, teach formally at schools and universities, or just to simply broaden their horizons. The most widely used form of sign language is the American Sign Language. Sign language is also an accepted form of language since an individual can be considered bilingual as long as he or she knows how to do sign languages.

Braille is a method used mostly by blind people in order to read and be able to write. A Braille character is made up of cells with raised or embossed patterns within it to denote a letter or a number. Combination of these characters then form to make up a word.

Now the above mentioned methods are what make up the Braille sign language. Braille sign language is not only for the blind and deaf, but also for those who are willing to learn the methodology in order to become a professional instructor of such discipline. You can find a lot of schools and websites that offer this course. It is just a matter of finding which one that will suit your needs. Braille sign language is something that is growing rapidly for a new discipline and looks to grow exponentially in the few years to come.

What are Sign Language Classifiers?


Sign language classifiers are used to show where someone or something is moving, where it is, and its appearance such as its size and shape. Sign language classifiers in ASL serve the same purpose as a pronoun in English language. Words must be used first then the American Sign Language classifiers can be used to represent the words. Since American Sign Language is the most popularly used sign language, we will tackle sign language classifiers under the ASL.

There are a variety of American Sign Language classifiers many involving hand shapes that represent numbers and letters. Sign language classifiers are often represented as CL followed by a classifier such as, CL:F. One set of classifiers is the use of the numbers one to five and another set of classifiers uses letters such as A,B,C,F,G,ILY(Y), L, O, S, U & V.

American Sign Language classifiers are an integral part of learning sign language most especially for those who are training to interpreters for the deaf. The Journal of Deaf Studies and Deaf Education is a resource widely accepted by the sign language community and has published a lot of articles related to American Sign Language classifiers. In one of their research which they have featured as an article: The Acquisition of Spatial Constructions in American Sign Language and English, researchers examined learning of spatial relationships such as the concept of “front.” The research has been conducted in concerning adults and children alike. All of which are American Sign Language users and English users. All people involved with the research were tested with pictures and sign language.

The results of the research show that children learn concepts like above and below a lot faster and easier because there is no need to picture mentally the actual location. However for concepts such as “front” and “behind” are much more difficult for them to learn because it involves perspective shifts. This plus other words that require mental shift of perspective is found to be hard to learn and express for deaf people. This is where the sign language classifiers comes into place. With the help of the sign language classifiers, it is much easier for ASL, or other sign language users to understand and express what they intend to get across to the other person.

Types of Sign Language


Sign language like the alphabet is not universal since it more similar to spoken language. Spoken language evolves from different cultures which can have as many as hundreds of dialects as in the case of India. In the United States, there is American Sign Language (ASL) for native English speakers. Actually, sign language is highly-influenced by the culture since gestures are often dictated by culture; thus, sign language for Russians is very much different from American sign language. It does not necessarily follow that one can communicate with a deaf using one’s pattern for sign language. A more comprehensive study of sign language was done by a Japanese cultural anthropologist Nobutaka Kamei. Dr. Kamei among African cultures. Her research revealed that there are at least 25 types of sign language in Africa alone of which she knows a few types especially that of Ghanaian, Nigerian and Francophone sign language. The sign languages symbols are as diverse as their indigenous culture. Dr Kamei herself also knows American Sign Language and Japanese Sign Language.

Furthermore, her research in sign language reveals that there are no less than 13 foreign languages that originated from Europe and America which were adopted by more than 27 African nations. Dr. Kame’s work had been very extensive since she was able to document at least 23 sign languages which she attests trace their influence from the west. Some sign languages are grouped together such as the sign languages of Auslan, NZSL, and BSL which is under the BANZSL family. In Asia, the Japanases sign language family covers Japanese Sign Language, Taiwanese Sign Language and Korean Sign Language. Similarly, sign languages from eastern European countries are clustered together under one language family. For example, Romanian, Bulgarian and Polish language scan belong in language group along with Czech and Hungarian as noted by SIL report. However, sign language should not be complicated since there are sign language softwares that can be used. Usually, sign language softwares contain a visual dictionary which is user-friendly. Another good thing about these sign language software is that they can cater to different types of sign language aside from the typical ASL. More advance software programs can even act as interpreter by exhibiting a picture or object on the screen according to what the user said on the microphone. Indeed, no matter how many types of sign language maybe existing, there are helpful sign language software that are available in the market.

Teach Sign Language


Teaching is a rewarding job since there is a sense of fulfillment after realizing that the learners have been equipped with knowledge and skills. For this matter, it is also interesting to teach sign language since the learners would greatly benefit from the skills acquired. If one is interested in teaching sign language, it is better to inquire with the national or local deaf association to see the prospects of teaching sign language. It is necessary for a sign language teacher to be accredited by legitimate deaf association. Usually, one of the requirements for sign language teaching is solid educational background on sign language. Internationally acclaimed Gallaudet University which is the oldest sign language school offers a bachelor’s program on sign language teaching. There are also other institutions, colleges, and universities like over the world that offer sign language teaching programs. These schools can be searched online to see the courses they are offering as well as the curriculum content. Some sign language school even offer free downloadable materials that can be used for sign language. In fact, there are many available jobs for sign language teachers which is why teaching sign language is a good career path or specialization for those who are already teaching.

Lately, there have been numerous suggestions to teach sign language to homeschooled children which is a bright idea. Children are easy to teach and absorb information easily so including sign language as a lesson for homeschooled children is beneficial to society. More sign language teachers can offer their services to homeschooled children and learners would not need to study anymore later in life sign language in case the need arises. Teaching sign language is easy since there are abundant resources such as materials and lesson plans that can be used for daily lessons.

Usually, these materials or printables are available for download online at different sites that produces to lesson plans for young children. The printables are attractive, colorful, and easy-to-use which makes teaching sign language to children an enjoyable task. Another way of enhancing sign language teaching is to use sign language software which encourages users to speak out their thoughts. Some softwares that contain the American Sign Language are downloadable for free. There is also a plethora of videos online that effectively teaches viewers sign language. Indeed, individuals considering teaching sign language would always have handy resources online. Teaching sign language is very interesting!

Sign Language Guide


Are you interested in learning some basic sign language? Learning sign language is a fun and you could really use it for a lot of instances such as trying to communicate to deaf people. Here is a sign language guide that will help you some intricate but pretty basic sign language hand signs and shapes.

Hello – with this word, hold your hand up, palm outwards, to your forehead like a salute but not as rigid, and then wave your hand outward so your palm facing forward just a few inches from your forehead. Welcome is another helpful sign language guide. Just place your palm facing inwards touching your forehead and then move your hand down in an arc towards the middle of your chest.

Another easy to learn sign language guide is the 5 Ws and 1 H. This helps you establish your sign language foundation and enables you to learn other sign languages far easier than the usual.

Who – place your right hand in the shape of an L on your chin touching with the thumb then move your hand forward slightly twice. This makes it look like you are pointing at the person whom you are talking to. Another very easy to remember sign language is “What.” With “What”, raise your palms face up and shrug your shoulders. When – point your left index finger straight up and use the index finger of the right hand to illustrate or draw a circle in a clockwise motion around the left finger. Where – wave your left index finger in the air left and right. Why – place your right hand fingers on your forehead then bring your hand down and away from your face while curling your fingers to make the sign of a letter “Y.” Finally, with “How”, you start with the outside of your fingers touching the fingers of your other hand. Your finger tips should be pointing towards your chest, and then rotate your hands up and out so that your palms turn face up towards you. Your palms should be facing up with finger tips pointing out and away from you.

The abovementioned sign language guides are just basic ones. Remember that there are a lot more of them that you need to learn if you really are interested with sign languages.

I Want To learn Sign Language


Learning sign language seems to be a fun activity since one would be able to communicate with the hearing impaired. Sign language is commonly known as a type of language used by the hearing impaired or deaf people. It is also similar to spoken language since emotions are conveyed by movement of arms, hands and facial gestures. Bodily movements also complement the hand symbols.

Before learning sign language, there are some facts that you may find interesting:

The first school for the deaf in America was founded by Laurent Clerc, a graduate from the first deaf school in Europe. Interestingly, heirs of Clerc also established a school for the deaf that is now an international university.

Sign language has many types. Each culture has their unique language, dialect and symbols used for communication that is why there are different languages all over the world. The case is also similar for sign language since there is no universal sign language. A learner can study different types of sign language such as American Sign language , Japanese sign language, plus 25 types of sign language in Africa alone. It is important that if you want to learn about sign language, you must identify the language that you are going to use it with.

If you want to learn sign language, there are numerous options to choose from. First, you can search for a local school in your community that offers sign language courses. It is also possible to contact the local association for the deaf that may have a directory of schools or individuals that teach sign language. Most often, associations for the deaf offer basic courses in sign language. It is a good experience to enroll in their program offerings since you can immediately interact with deaf people while studying the basics of sign language. Like any language, sign language must be practiced so proficiency in using the language can be quickly attained. It is also possible to learn sign language by joining online classes. There are many available sites that offer even free sign language courses and all you need to do is enlist in the particular class. Some online classes present videos that you can follow on your own free time which makes learning sign language a breeze. Books about sign language can also complement your learning process. No matter what mode of learning you choose, sign language is definitely worth studying!

History of Sign Language


All over the world, deaf people can communicate with society by using sign language. New programs , TV shows, and even talk shows reach out to the hearing impaired through sign language. In fact, sign language has an interesting history since its origins can be traced back as early as fifth century BC according to Dirksen in his book “Open your eyes: Deaf studies talking “ which was published last 2008. According to the author, Socrates was recorded probing about the situation of the deaf and mute in the society who used sign language to communicate. Although his arguments in Plato’s book Cratylus was about man’s effort to communicate, it can be inferred that sign language was already used then. Even in Jewish society sign language using motion of the lips was already practiced according to Babylonian Talmud Gitti. Old Jewish society members were compelled to study such lip motions as part of the Mishnah.

In Spain, a book titled “Reduction of letters and art for teaching mute people to speak” was written by Juan Pablo Benet in the 15th century which established a system for educating deaf people using sign language. This paved way for Charles-Michel de L’ Epee to devise a manual alphabet which was used by sign language schools some parts of Europe and even North America. This manual alphabet was innovative since it made the deaf communicate efficiently with normal people. A century later, the first school for deaf children in Paris was founded by no less than the heir of Charles- Michel – Abbe de l Epee. This was the legacy that the world received from the designer of the first manual for the deaf. Interestingly, one of the famous graduates from the said school – Laurent Clerc travelled to the United States and co-founded with Thomas Hopkin Gallaudet the first school for the deaf appropriately named – American School for the Deaf.

The school was established in 1817 with its location at Hartford, Connecticut. Mr. Gallaudet went into the venture since he had deaf son named Edward who later set-up a school for the deaf in Washington. Apparently, the founders of the deaf schools were touched by the plight of fellow deaf students that they committed themselves setting up institutions that catered to their needs. In the case of the Gallaudet College which became a liberal arts university, it is one of the best legacy that a deaf left to this world.

About Sign Language


Sign language is commonly known as a type of language used by the hearing impaired of deaf people. In transmitting this language, there are no sounds emitted by the speaker but only hand signals that correlate with certain meaning. The body is also used as a means of conveying a message that complements the movement of the arms and hand. Even if sign language is not spoken, it conveys as much as meaning and emotions as the spoken language. Aside from the body language and hand signals, facial expression provides emotions that supports the thoughts of the speaker.

Sign language evolved as early as the 5th century when Socrates discussed ways that man can express himself even when he could not speak. The Jewish community mandated its members to study Mishnah which incorporates sign languages since deaf people are also considered in merchant transactions. In almost all communities around the world, sign language developed along within a certain culture so that deaf people can communicate with their people. Another important fact about sign language is that most of the pioneering schools for the deaf were also founded by deaf people. The alphabet manual for the deaf was written by Charles-Michel de L’ Epee which was extensively used in some parts of Europe and North America. Later, his heir Abbe de l Epee set-up a school for deaf children from which Laurent Clerc ( founder of the first deaf school in America) graduated from. Similarly, Laurent’s Heir established the Gallaudet college for the deaf which is now a university. It is also important to know that there are many types of sign language. Its characteristics are similar to spoken language that is why there cannot be a universal type of sign language. Prominent in the research on the types of sign language is Dr. Nobutaka Kamei who has conducted extensive research among African cultures. Her research revealed that in Africa alone, there are no less than 25 types of sign language.

Nevertheless, despite the many types of sign languages (of which the American Sign Language is most common) one should find that there are many types of sign language software available in the market. No need to worry because some sign languages software are even downloadable for free and includes American Sign Language as well as African Sign Language. Some sign language software require purchase but an affordable price.